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Baron Barracuda

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About Baron Barracuda

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  1. It's just so nice to roll off the ship and hop into your car. Few hours on the road and you're home. Not to mention the savings on airfare and pre-cruise hotel.
  2. If you are talking about exotic or old world destinations where X doesn't directly compete with the new mega ships, fine, don't disagree. When my family sailed Alaska, Galapagos and Panama Canal our focus wasn't on onboard amenities. My comment was more about the Caribbean where many ships sail very similar itineraries. There, I doubt an X cruise provides any greater cultural enlightenment and is much less kid friendly.
  3. That's the argument for keeping a ship in Baltimore. Little competition and attractiveness of not having to fly allows Royal to charge higher prices.
  4. Do you think kids care about points? All the mass market lines run kids sail free promos, so X isn't unique to that. Parents who take kids on X are putting their desires first, kids just along for the ride. What kid would choose X over bumper cars, skydiving, rock climbing, surfing, ice skating, etc etc... Having said that, in 25 years of sailing with X have never seen many school age kids on a ship, even in summer.
  5. Our first Royal cruise was aboard Grandeur back in '97. At the time she seemed glitzy and huge. Was so impressed took our kids on their first cruise aboard her the following year. They were hooked. Didn't sail her again for 20 years, until last year. Not much had changed. Love the old comfortable lounges. Just shows that old Royal (and X ) ships never die, they just go to Pullmantur.
  6. If the build-out cost for Vanuatu is anywhere near what they invested in Coco Cay they're going to need more than two or three ship visits per week to justify the project. Is the market large enough to support several ships per week year round?
  7. For a time we received almost daily emails from Viking imploring us to vote for them in this survey. We love their product but were put off by the idea of stuffing the ballot box. They obviously place great importance on these rankings. Don't know if other lines do as well.
  8. If Fain asks she'll likely answer the way my kids do: Why hassle me for being 5th when Royal finished 7th.
  9. If you're willing to take chance fares don't increase over time why not just book refundable and just before fp date cancel and re-book non-refundable at lower price?
  10. We can usually estimate M&M attendance by size and activity of our roll call board. It really helps when someone has stepped up and offered to run activities (cabin crawl, slot pull, private excursions, etc). These are usually discussed at the party so folks show up to get details.
  11. Bonaire is a sleepy little island that is easily navigable on your own. After reading great online reviews we rented a golf cart from Bonairecruisers.com. Not expensive at all. Best to reserve online ahead of time as they often sell out. Carts were waiting at end of pier. They gave us a map and off we went. Did a leisurely circuit of the island in only a couple of hours. Could have stopped along the way for snorkeling if we'd wanted. Recommend heartily.
  12. Isn't the simple solution to start with the classic package, sample the substitutes and see if they'll do for you? If not upgrade to the premium package on board or pay the extra buck a drink. DW's favorite drink is a BBC (Bailey's banana colada). Have always able to get it on the classic package. Hopefully still can,.
  13. Have no idea how profitable X is. Parent RCCI doesn't share line of business financials with the public so the only one who knows for sure is Jason Liberty, their CFO. My point of contention is that many see a full ship and assume X is doing well. However we have no idea how much discounting was required to fill the ship. Cabins sold at interline rates or through friends and family deals help cover costs somewhat but can result in profitless prosperity. A quick check of current interline rates on close-in X sailings shows numerous offers at 70% - 80% below brochure rate. Wish I qualified for interline.
  14. Wish folks would stop saying ships sailing full is a measure of financial health. It isn't. Just about every ship sails at or near capacity. The closely guarded secret is how heavily they had to discount those final cabins. I've seen ships with over 100 empty cabins a couple of weeks before sailing sell out. Cruise line and online ta rates never dropped but you know someone somewhere somehow got a great deal.
  15. I trace much of this back to 2014. That's when Richard Fain, president of RCCI announced his "double double" goal of doubling RCCI's profits in three years and raising their return on invested capital to a double digit rate. He achieved this target (and likely earned a huge bonus) largely through fleet expansion. Royal added 6 new Quantum and Oasis class mega ships and the TUI partnership added 6 smaller ones. X however received no new ships between Reflection's launch in 2012 and Edge's debut in 2019. What got instead was LLP, who coincidentally took over at the end of 2014. Have no idea how much of the profit improvement goal was assigned to X (RCCI doesn't break out financial results by line of business) but suspect even without fleet additions it was still a big number, and it all had to come from higher fares, onboard revenue and expense reductions. Believe most of the higher charges and service cutbacks discussed here were driven by this program.
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